Tax season isn’t fun for anyone except the accountants who make their living on preparing tax returns for others. For the majority of us, it is a time of endless stresses while we struggle to get our paperwork together, figure out our income, and just get the whole thing done. Avoid these top 5 tax filing errors this year to make sure your filing goes as easily as it can.

  1. Missing the Deadline
    The biggest and most commonly made tax mistake of all time is, of course, missing the deadline. No one can say exactly why it’s so difficult to have a few pages of paperwork filled out by the middle of April, but many of us still find ourselves scrambling every Spring nonetheless. Try to avoid this mistake by keeping your financial paperwork organized and up to date throughout the year. Missing deadline incurs additional fees on your taxes, so don’t get stuck paying extra.
  2. Mixed Up Filing Status
    This mistake is usually the product of failure to communicate between spouses and family members. Sometimes everyone has a different idea of who is or isn’t a dependent, and whether they are filing jointly as a married couple, or married but filing separate. The ramifications of these mistakes can be expensive and confusing, and can even involve IRS audits in some cases. Make sure everyone in your family is on the same page with regards to filing status, and your tax filings should go smoothly.
  3. Social Security Misnomers
    It’s actually surprising how often this incredibly simple mistake is made. It’s just about the silliest thing you can screw up on your tax returns–probably the only thing worse would be to misspell your name–but it happens. Tax paperwork can be tedious, sure, but don’t get lazy with the easy questions. Simple mistakes like this can have serious consequences. Your social security number is actually used more often than your name in many cases–your tax accounts, for example, are connected directly to this number, rather than your name.
  4. Messy Calculations
    Like many taxpayers, you are probably not an expert mathematician, and you may not even be up to the level you were in secondary school. It’s okay, most of us use complex math so little in our daily lives that we naturally get rusty. However, make absolutely sure on your taxes that you aren’t making sloppy calculating mistakes. It’s easier to mess this up that you’d think, and it could end up costing you in a number of ways. Break out the calculator and utilize websites like TaxRebate.org.uk to help you with your income and deductible calculations.
  5. Credit and Claim Confusion
    Tax credits and deductions are widely misunderstood and often messed up by taxpayers all over the country. Some taxpayers mistakenly apply for deductions and credits for which they are not actually eligible, while others fail to claim what they deserve for fear of being audited. Be sure to double check your paperwork to make sure you’re getting what you deserve and not misconstruing credits and other aspects of the tax filing.